The former UFC lightweight champion is under no illusions about the role he has been assigned in the rise of Justin Gaethje.
Eddie Alvarez has done it all.
As a champion in virtually every organisation he has ever fought in, he has spent the last decade or so carving out a reputation as one of the gutsiest fighters in the game.
His never-say-die attitude and near-inhuman ability to recover has seen him rise above adversity on more than one occasion in the past and after years of competing on the international circuit, his 2016 win over then-155lb champ Rafael dos Anjos finally gave him his biggest accomplishment to date, a UFC title.
Unfortunately, grit and determination were not enough when Eddie attempted to defend his lightweight strap against the featherweight champ Conor McGregor at UFC 205, as he succumbed to a beautiful combo from the Irishman in the second round after being completely outclassed for the entirety of the bout.
Now, with him coaching opposite Justin Gaethje on the latest season of the Ultimate Fighter, Alvarez, Eddie spoke on a recent edition of the UFC Unfiltered podcast about the dynamic between himself and the UFC and how now, with him reaching the twilight years of his career, his role on the show could simply be to provide a stepping stone for the hotly-tipped Gaethje as he progresses in his very-young UFC career.
“When UFC wants something, they get it, you know what I mean? If they want you to fight, you’re going to fight. There is not much of a negotiation going on there, especially with me.
“I am pretty easy going. I’m not the type of guy that’s like, I want this guy, I want that guy. I don’t think UFC wanted that [Poirier] fight, they liked Justin Gaethje, they want to move him and they want to use my name to move him. But guess what? I have other intentions, know what I mean? I get the game, I know how it works and I have been on the other side of it as a young kid coming up, so I see what they want to do, and that’s the fun part of this.”
Gaethje blasted through Michael Johnson in his UFC debut after what was a surefire Fight of the Year nominee and now, with a record that includes 18 wins and no losses, is confident that he can replicate his success in his old home at World Series of Fighting in the world’s premier mixed martial arts organisation.
Whether Eddie has something to say about that, remains to be seen.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena